The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector finance arm of the World Bank, and the UK’s Standard Chartered Bank are both seeking opportunities to invest and participate in the Iraqi economy, the MEED Iraq Power & Gas Projects 2011 Conference was told on 13 June.

IFC investment officer Erik Becker said the IFC is seeking infrastructure projects in Iraq with a value of about $30-150m. He said the IFC had helped organise a $400m term loan for Zain Iraq and participated in the Umm Qasr container port reconstruction financing. Becker said the Electricity Ministry’s independent power projects (IPPs), however, lacked key elements seen in successful power privatisation programmes elsewhere in the region.

Standard Chartered Bank Middle East project and export finance director Ali Jaffery said that Standard Chartered would like to set up a retail banking operation in Iraq. It has recently increased its support for The Trade Bank of Iraq and would consider well-structured Iraqi infrastructure finance proposals.